Cyberspace and Reality

At the end of the novel the idea of cyberspace vs. reality was very important for both Case and Linda Lee. In chapters 20 and 21 Case enters cyberspace and gets to be with Linda Lee again. Although Linda is dead, it seems as if Linda believes that she is still a living human being. Is this because when Linda Lee was alive she too blurred the lines between cyberspace and reality and now sees no difference?  However, when Linda Lee and Case are talking, she says, “ ‘where we live. It gets smaller, Case, smaller, closer you get to it.” (pp. 242) Linda Lee is explaining the world that they are in as being small and closing in and it appears that Linda realizes that the world she is in, is not the “real” world.  Then we soon find out that Linda is artificial. However, once we do learn that Linda is not real, that made me wonder where she is in cyberspace? Is this some ambiguous/ alternate place she goes to because she is dead? I wonder why Gibson decided to keep Linda Lee in the novel even after her death?

Linda’s small predicament in these last few chapters, in my opinion, illustrates that the lines between reality and cyberspace can be blurred and the characters may not know exactly where they are. This also seems to happen to Case throughout the novel. He is constantly in cyberspace, but flipping to see reality through the eyes of Molly. Both reality and cyberspace are important, but it seems that even Case can forget where he is. The fact that the novel ends with Case being in cyberspace may indicate that Case finds cyberspace to be more of a reality for him than the real world.  Usually when Case was in reality he was looking through the eyes of Molly. However Molly is gone now and the last line of the book says, “He never saw Molly again.” (pp. 271). Molly was the one person that kept Case in touch with reality. Does this mean that Case will be in cyberspace from now on?

10 comments
  1. Although i agree with the fact that reality and cyberspace can at times have seemingly blurred boundaries between the two, I also think that it is only partly because Case sometimes wishes he didn’t have to face his reality. When Case sees reality through Molly’s eyes even though he is in cyberspace, it is his way of being two places at once. In the final scene, Case notices that he can see himself turning pale and white in the corner, which means he is able to understand the difference between what is reality and what is cyberspace. Even when Case is with Linda in what seems to be an inbetween of sorts, Case knows it can’t be real and is constantly trying to find a way out, and finally he does through the music that Maelcum plays for him in reality. Additionally, Case’s seeing reality through Molly’s eyes definitely symbolizes how Case needs Molly to ground him to reality emotionally.

  2. I agree with your comment about the blurring of the line between cyberspace and reality. However, to take this a step further I think this also touches upon the larger idea of identity. Is Linda Lee the same person in cyberspace as she was in the real world? Is the replica of her personality held by Neuromancer an accurate depiction of her character? Also, the idea of cloning in the Tessier-Ashpool family also touches upon the idea of identity. Is a clone of Jane really the same as the original Jane? I think these are interesting questions to think about, that Gibson definitely had in mind when he was writing the novel.

  3. Mariah I think that “fake” Linda Lee is in a place that can somewhat be compared to heaven. Linda is dead, but Neuromancer made a copy of all her aspects before she died and therefore, extremely resembles Linda in physical and emotional states. In addition, I agree with you that Case does prefer cyberspace instead of the real world. He constantly shows it throughout the novel and the most concrete evidence to me is when he decides to join Armitage’s team in return for his ability to enter re-cyberspace. Case has difficulty living in the real world so, finds alternatives that can detach him from it that include cyberspace and drugs.

  4. I quite like that you’ve brought us back to this theme of the intersplicing of the real and the virtual, Mariah. I’m not sure if the characters are ever really confused by whether they’re in the Matrix or not. After all, the only character that ever goes there (when not a dead person) is Case. And except for the first time Wintermute pulls him into Chiba, he seems to always know what’s going on. So while I might say confusion per se is out, the rest of what you’re talking about certainly rings true.

  5. While reading the novel, I came to the same conclusion as you, Mariah. I think Case, throughout the novel, seeks an alternate reality through sex, drugs, and cyberspace. He ultimately wishes to change his life. I also find the final line interesting. Perhaps Case has died and is living in cyberspace with Linda Lee from now on. Whatever the case may be, I feel Case has definitely lost touch with his true reality.

  6. I definitely agree with some of the points you make in your blog post. I especially like the quote you brought up because I think it clearly demonstrates Gibson’s point. These alternate realities cannot ever be as good or as complete as real life. The line has blurred between the two and it clearly delineates the characters’ refusal to be complacent with just the real world.

  7. I also agree that Case’s experience in cyberspace at the end of the novel suggests that cyberspace has actually become Case’s reality. Throughout the novel, he appears to be most happy and fulfilled while he is jacked into cyberspace. When Case is consciously in the real world, he reverts to a state of depression and misery. Jacking into cyberspace and navigating the matrix gives Case a sense of purpose and meaning in life. This feeling of self worth is something Case does not have in the real world, so he creates an alternate reality for himself in cyberspace.

  8. I agree that reality and cyberspace blurs together a bit. I especially like when you said “Molly was the one person that kept Case in touch with reality. Does this mean that Case will be in cyberspace from now on?” because, in a sense, what makes cyberspace fake and reality real? Why can’t Case live in the “artificial” world with the “artificial” Linda Lee. What makes it less real than “reality”?

  9. Mariah, I understand how you concluded to the idea that at times, the boundaries between reality and cyberspace can be blurred together. Going beyond that point, I believe this is a result of Case seeking an altered reality. We know from the beginning of the novel that Case yearns to be released from the real world because reality is not the ideal. For example, when Case no longer can “jack in” to the matrix after stealing from his previous employers, “Case fell into the prison of his own flesh” (Gibson 6). Gibson refers to the body as a prison because Case at this moment is physically confined in reality, no longer holding the ability to escape it. However, when Case is allowed back into cyberspace, he becomes addicted to the idea of virtual reality because it is an altered form of his reality. It is only within cyberspace that Case has the capability to sleep with what appears to be Linda Lee. Cyberspace, at the end of the novel ultimately becomes Case’s altered reality.

  10. This book definitely has a theme of appearance vs. reality. I agree with you that Case and Linda are having a hard time determining whether or not they are in the real world or in cyberspace, and they have a preference between the two. Ultimately, Case and Linda choose to live in the cyberspace/matrix instead of reality, since Case can bring his skill into full play in the cyberspace and Linda can be with the fake Case (but she thinks he’s real) forever. Both of them decide to live and stay in their bubbles so they can escape and avoid the harsh reality.

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